What is Apricot Poisoning?
If your cat is experiencing apricot poisoning, he will require immediate medical attention from a veterinarian. The quicker you get your cat medical help, the better his chances are of making a full recovery from this condition.
People know apricots as a delicious fruit, but to cats, the stems, leaves, and seeds of apricots can be poisonous. In fact, many fruits that we eat on a regular basis can be toxic to animals, including cherries, plums, and peaches. The stems, leaves, and seeds of the apricot plant contain cyanide, which is a dangerous poison that will cause respiratory issues, dilated pupils, excessive panting, vomiting, and eventually death if left untreated.
Symptoms of Apricot Poisoning in Cats
It’s imperative you take your cat to a vet as soon as you begin to spot symptoms of any type of poisoning. If left untreated, your cat may begin going into shock, and eventually, the poisoning can become fatal. Some of the symptoms you should look out for when it comes to apricot poisoning include:
- Dilated pupils
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive panting
- Bright red gums
Causes of Apricot Poisoning in Cats
Apricot poisoning is caused by exposure to the apricot, specifically the stems, leaves, and seeds, which contain cyanide. Once ingested, cyanide begins to block the cells from taking in oxygen, which is why this condition is so dangerous. Although these parts of the apricot can be poisonous to cats at any time, they contain the highest levels of cyanide while they are wilting.
Diagnosis of Apricot Poisoning in Cats
Bring your cat to a veterinarian as soon as you spot any of the symptoms of apricot poisoning. Once you’re there, immediately let the vet know what symptoms you have observed, when they began, and if your cat has been exposed to anything unusual. If your cat spends most of his time outdoors, let the vet know so he is aware there’s a chance your cat could have been exposed to a toxin without your knowledge.
If you know what your cat has ingested, this will help the vet make a diagnosis of apricot poisoning. Pay close attention to your cat’s vomit to see if there are any leaves or seeds. If so, collect a sample and take this to the vet with you.
However, if you’re not sure what has caused these symptoms, the vet may need to take a sample of your cat’s stomach fluids. The vet may perform trocarization, which is the process of removing fluid from the stomach cavity for testing. The vet may need to wear protective gear while collecting the fluid to reduce the risk associated with exposure to cyanide. Once a fluid sample has been collected, the vet will be able to test it for cyanide and issue a formal diagnosis of cyanide poisoning.
Treatment of Apricot Poisoning in Cats
Once the vet is certain your cat has been exposed to cyanide, he will need to move quickly in order to save him. If the vet believes it is an emergency situation, which is often the case with apricot poisoning, the vet may administer amyl nitrate nasally. Then, cyanide poisoning is usually treated with sodium nitrite administered through an IV. The sodium nitrite will be administered for a period of three to four minutes. Then, the vet may switch to an IV with sodium thiosulfate or administer this antidote orally.
During treatment, your cat may be connected to a respirator to ensure he is stable throughout the process. The vet and his team will closely monitor your cat throughout treatment as vomiting and low blood pressure are common side effects of this form of treatment. If symptoms have not improved in a few hours, your vet may need to give an additional dose of sodium nitrate to your cat to eliminate the remaining cyanide from his system.
Recovery of Apricot Poisoning in Cats
The sooner you take your cat to a vet, the better his chances will be at recovering. Some cats may need to stay at a vet’s office following treatment, especially if the cat is severely dehydrated as a result of excessive vomiting. When your vet allows you to take your cat home, make sure you ask about what foods he should be allowed to eat while he recovers from this traumatic experience. The vet may suggest you give your cat softer foods while his body recovers, and he may ask that you ensure your cat is drinking plenty of fluids.
Talk to your vet about the many plants that contain cyanide. If you have these plants in your yard or neighborhood, it may be best to keep your cat indoors to prevent further issues.